Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.

 

 

Pick an apple! 
 
Type Faster by Competing in Races

A fun way to improve your typing speed and accuracy is to join an online typing competition at typrX. This typing competition keeps track of your typing speed, while allowing you to compete against other people, either around the world in public races or with friends in private races. To set up a private race with your friends, follow these simple steps.

  • Once you have a typrX account, click the Create Private Race button on the front page and you’ll be taken to the private race page.
  • From there, copy the track code URL and send it to the friends you want to join the race.
  • You can click the Delay Countdown button to add 10 seconds to the clock if you are waiting on your friend to join the race.

Visit typrX

 
 

CD-ROM Superstar

Send Article to a Friend

They aren't fast, they aren't pretty, and they seldom connect to your stereo as nicely as you would like, but CD-ROMs are here to stay. They have found a niche in the market despite their many limitations because they provide an excellent way to disseminate lots of information cheaply. Someone at Macworld Expo in Boston was advertising a monthly CD-ROM disk, much like a monthly magazine (you thought wading through several hundred pages of Macworld or MacUser was hard, try making it through 650 megs of a CD-ROM). More reasonable uses of CD-ROMs are massive publishing projects for static information, such as parts lists and the like.

The news is that Apple is going to step up the incentive to buy a CD-ROM player sometime next year by introducing a new, cheaper model and lowering the price on the current CD-ROM player. The cheaper model might even be included internally in future Macintosh models. That's kind of cool, but not all that impressive, other than that you might have a use for the $500 that's burning a small hole in your checking account. No, the real scoop - and we hope that it is true - is that Apple will introduce at some point next year (note the ambiguous date) a CD-ROM player (oh boy, another one) having an access time of 28 milliseconds. "Big deal," you say, "my Quantum 105 is 19 milliseconds." Yes, but can your Quantum 105 read any CD-ROM disk, all 650 megabytes of it? Didn't think so. The fastest of the CD-ROM drives these days have around a 350 millisecond access time, which is pretty poky.

This drive would be impressive if it were to happen, so I asked a knowledgeable friend if it could be done. He's not a CD-ROM expert, but he thought that the main problem was in the stepper motor and its control circuitry. Essentially, stepper motors work slowly in audio CD-ROM drives because there is no reason for them to step quickly. However, if a faster, more powerful stepper motor was used in conjunction with a well-designed microcontroller, a 28 millisecond speed would be theoretically possible.

Information from:
Pythaeus
Adam C. Engst -- TidBITS Editor

 

CrashPlan is easy, secure backup that works everywhere. Back up
to your own drives, friends, and online with unlimited storage.
With 30 days free, backing up is one resolution you can keep.
Your life is digital; back it up! <http://tid.bl.it/code42-tb>